Remember when we wrote about MAIO Mall last month? To find out more juicy bits for you, Geeks In Cambodia sat down with Tomas Pokorny, CEO of WorldBridgE Commerce (WBC) – under the group of WorldBridge International (WIG) and creators of MAIO Mall – for an interview. Learn all about what you can expect and when you can start shopping as well an upcoming event featuring Laura Mam!
(This interview has been edited for flow and clarity.)
Can you introduce yourself as well as your company, WBC?
It is hard to talk about myself, when there are dozens of people behind of this project. I’m Tomas, CEO of WBC. We are part of the WorldBridge International Group (WIG), which consists of 21 companies, a group history over more than 20 years and total group investment in Cambodia exceeding a billion USD. We at WBC developed MAIO (My All In One) Mall as well as many other solutions.
What is MAIO Mall, and how does it work?
MAIO Mall stands for My All In One Mall, and is a large-scale ecommerce platform. On there you will be able to find clothes, electronic products, accessories and much more including services, bookings, etc. Within the next few months, we also expect to have a full grocery store (online supermarket) in the database.
There is a very simple sign up process for both consumers and any online businesses or suppliers interested to use the platform. Businesses are free to negotiate and can do so through our 24/7 sales and support team.
What we provide for these suppliers is that when they sign up, we handle customer service, deliveries, returns, payments, and even taking pictures of products. Yes, not everything will be available right from start, but at the end of this development process; the real all-in-one solution will be in place.
We are partnering with ACLEDA Bank, who will handle our financial transactions. Within February and March 2015, users who have an account with ACLEDA bank can head to their ATMs or use mobile banking to top up their e-wallet for payment on our site. In the same month, we will also release our mobile app for shopping.
Within March to May, we will launch our payment gateway system, so shoppers can use their credit and debit cards to pay. During this period, we expect to have online lending services, where you can borrow funds for shopping right on our site and we will close this development chain by other online and mobile payment solutions available throughout the Cambodia.
Though we will only start with door to door cash on delivery in Phnom Penh, by the end of this year we will cover Cambodia and implement international delivery.
When will MAIO Mall be launched?
On 30th of January 2015 we will have our basic version up, containing 10,000 products as well as cash on delivery services. We will hold a prelaunch (or softlaunch) at AEON Mall. There will be performances by Laura Mam, MC tags by RoLin as well as giveaways. Suppliers can join the event starting at 2PM, and everyone else can feel free to drop by from 4PM to 7PM. This will begin a period of BETA testing when we expect public to give us a ton of feedback and helps us to finalize the real online shopping site.
How is it unique as compared to other ecommerce sites in Cambodia?
With the support of WIG, we believe we can provide high end service, and to provide a one stop solution for ecommerce. Additionally, we will have 24/7 customer service support, which is crucial when garnering trust.
However, we never want to be viewed as someone competing with other smaller or bigger solutions in the country. We want to create a partnership environment, where we can support other online businesses in Cambodia and vice versa. With the upcoming ASEAN integration, the government is becoming more innovative and proactive – such as drafting an ecommerce law – and we have to push those changes rather than continue competing with each other.
How do you tackle the security issue where people do not trust ecommerce transactions?
As we partner with ACLEDA, we run everything through official channels, and it is not handled internally, which increases the security level. Our software, servers and IT solutions are run with PCI-DSS compliance and we will be PCI-DSS certified within this year as well. Additionally, we also have our own bank within the group, Oxley Worldbridge Specialised Bank. Though it is not a commercial one, it shows our expertise in handling financial transactions and making sure the level of security is high.
What challenges did you face when developing MAIO Mall?
One of the challenges was payment, as every ecommerce site will experience in Cambodia. The licensing and regulatory aspect is a big deal for any funds or remittance transfer firm. Via our banking partners, who are taking care of funds processing, we have covered that issue.
Second challenge was the Internet connection, also vital for any mobile or online shopping. However, with 4G coverage increasing nearly daily, this issue is on its way to being solved.
What is your vision for MAIO Mall over the next couple of years?
We definitely want to become a Southeast Asia ecommerce solution. We will be based mainly in Cambodia till 2017 – to set a strong foundation, but latest in 2018 we aim to expand to the surrounding regions. I believe we have a chance at penetrating the international market because of our infrastructure and existing international partnerships.
Can you explain the solutions that you are developing other than the site?
Other than MAIO Mall, we have MAIO Virtual, MAIO Pay, MAIO Digi, MAIO S&W and MAIO BPO. MAIO Virtual is our virtual solutions sector, with products such as mirrors that allow you to see what you would look like in an outfit. These will be planted across town, in order to work hand in hand with MAIO Mall. We will be showcasing these at our softlaunch on the 30th, so stay tuned!
For more information on the softlaunch, visit here.